The House committee on Health has approved the bill that will legalize the use of cannabis or marijuana for medical purposes. The bill known as the “Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act” will legalize the use of cannabis for debilitating patients who need it for its health and medicinal benefits.
When the bill is approved and becomes a law, Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers (MCCC) will be created to help regulate and facilitate the selling and distribution of cannabis to appropriate patients with S3-prescriptions. Patients who will qualify will have to secure identification cards issued by the MCCC after presenting a certification from their physician that they have chronic or debilitating conditions and will benefit from cannabis, as per an article by GMA.
Isabela First District Rep. Rodolfo Albano, who authored the controversial bill, believes that a lot of patients who are suffering from severe medical conditions such as arthritis, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, among others, will greatly benefit from the extracted oil of marijuana. He was quoted by CNN saying, “You have to extract the properties of the medicine, parang opium. You have to extract opium para maging morphine. ‘Pag morphine na, kailangan mo pa rin ng [you still need clearance] clearance sa doctor.”
The bill will also give way for further studies and research on cannabis and its medical benefits through the establishment of Medical Cannabis Research and Safety Compliance Facilities. Doctors will also be trained to become cannabis medical physicians.
The use of medicinal cannabis remains to be a controversial topic in the country since it is still illegal to possess any amount of marijuana. Last year, President Duterte clarified his stand on the issue saying he is open to the use of medicinal marijuana, as per an article by CNN, “Yes, because it is really an ingredient of modern medicine now.”